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Results: 1 - 15 of 752
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
We'll stay for the statement.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair, and thank you for the opportunity to participate today. I am here on behalf of my House leader, Candice Bergen, to discuss the matter before us today.
I think that my characterization of this initiative will not be the same as Mr. Simms', who called it fantastic. In fact, I think it's putting the cart before the horse here.
As you know, when you were hired to the position, we were in the midst of a prolonged multi-week/month debate and dispute about the Standing Orders about who should be bringing forward changes, in what manner they should be considered, and whether there should be consensus, etc.
I'll go back to your testimony in February 2018, when you told this committee, “The commitment that I had made is that there would be no change to the Standing Orders”, and “understanding completely that no changes are being recommended through this exercise.”
You gave us “absolute guarantee that no changes would be made”, yet we have 70 changes here, which may meet Mr. Simms' description of being fantastic. I guess my primary question first of all is, on whose authority or initiative was this? Why did you take it upon yourself to change the Standing Orders? I would argue that is the purview of members of Parliament to decide if the Standing Orders need to be changed.
You referred many times to “we” throughout your presentation: “We decided. We did this.” Who is “we”, and who decided that this would be a good idea to pursue without having members of Parliament give you that charge?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
With respect, Mr. Clerk, again, in your February 2018 testimony, you said, “in the meantime, through negotiations and shared information, [if] the House leaders recognize there might be some value in rewriting the Standing Orders...it seemed to me that this would be a worthwhile project.”
Did you ever consult with the House leaders before embarking on this initiative?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Okay, well that's news to me.
Again, I think that this is a cart-before-the-horse thing. It might be that what you have produced is worthy of adoption or consideration, but the way in which it was put forward I think is very concerning to us.
Mr. Christopherson, who is not here today but is an eminent member of this committee, said at that same meeting, “You start talking Standing Orders, and I mean the House owns the orders, not the Clerk's department.”
I again want to lay down that marker. I don't know what would now prevent a future clerk, or what prevents any part of the apparatus that serves members of Parliament, from embarking on similar good-faith initiatives. They may actually be done in good faith, but if they're not directed by members of this committee, members of the House, then I would argue that they are in fact counter to the very thing Mr. Christopherson stated, that this should be done on the request of the House.
Again, these are our Standing Orders. The Speaker constantly refers to the fact that he cannot act outside of these rules because he is a servant of the House.
I would ask, perhaps in another way, who else has been assisting with this? Have you been assisted through the government House leader's office or the Privy Council Office or the Speaker's office to undertake this initiative and to produce the document that we have in front of us?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
You're saying that there are no employees of the Privy Council Office seconded to assist you on this project.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
My question is for Ms. Reschke.
You said that clean tech products or technologies will spring to life not because of government policy or incentive, but supported by government policy or incentive. Some might say in spite of government policy or incentive.
Can you elaborate on what the difference is between supported by but not because of, and what that means as government designs programs? What should they be focusing on?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Right.
Part of my next question to you was going to be on the ill-defined nature of clean tech. We've had oil and gas folks in here talking about improvements to drilling technology, for instance, running rigs on natural gas, which is at the source, where they are. We had members on this very committee who didn't think that qualified as clean technology.
You touched on it briefly, and we had Pierre Desrochers here who said of green technologies, “Often they create, I would argue, more problems than those that existed before. It's not because they're based on renewable energy sources that they are necessarily more sustainable.”
You mentioned the renewable fuels initiative, which I remember watching unfold. There were demands that the government of the day get a percentage of renewable fuels into the system, and it was considered to be unacceptable that it wouldn't happen immediately. Within five years, the policy was rejected as having caused a spike in food prices, a shortage of worldwide food supply, and a realization, as you said, that the greenhouse gas emissions or the inputs to create that fuel were just as high as traditional oil and gas.
Can you maybe explain how, in your view, we need to have the longer view, that if we don't properly consider life-cycle impacts, we're going to not only endanger the economy but our environment?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
You've said before that you believe the government should prioritize investment in the commercialization of new technologies over pure R and D. Could you maybe just expand on that thought? We don't have much time.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you to the witnesses for your presentations.
I want to talk to Mr. Scholz. As you just heard in the questioning back and forth, there is still a lot of work to do to convince some folks that our oil and gas industry deserves respect. I want to salute you for the work that you've done with Oil Respect, which defends Canadian oil and gas and tries to get some facts out to people about what it does for our economy, what it's all about, who the women and men who work in it are, and to dispel some of those myths. I thank you for that. I might give you an opportunity to talk about that in a minute.
I did want to talk about what you said. The government is very fond of saying—it's a great catchphrase—that the environment and the economy go hand in hand. I liked what you had to say, that profitability and research and development also go hand in hand, that if you are struggling to make payroll, you're probably not dumping a lot of money into R and D, or if your company is going bankrupt, you're not investing in this country, or if companies are moving their entire operations to a different country, that's where the research and development will take place.
We're very concerned on this side about competitiveness, about the cumulative effect of government policy, be it provincial or federal, and we've seen the impact on some of the major players and heard rumours of Statoil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, Total, and Chevron all divesting their Canadian assets and moving to the United States or to other places where, quite frankly, there isn't the same level of regulatory burden, or the tax structure is different.
What has the impact been on smaller drilling companies that perhaps you represent? Are we competitive still? Are you seeing this impact in the industry at your level? We're not talking now about the multinational companies, but about the Canadian small to middle-sized companies. How are we doing in terms of our competitiveness?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just have to quickly address the comments by Mr. McLeod. Obviously he doesn't like what he's hearing from some of the witnesses today. He mentioned there is not much in the way of GHG emissions in the Northwest Territories. In fact, the latest information from the Government of the Northwest Territories shows that the average per capita GHG emission for the Northwest Territories is 50% higher than the national average, as it obviously would be, given the very cold and remote nature of those communities. It's simply not true that GHG emissions are low in the Northwest Territories, so I don't really know where that came from.
Mark, I wanted to give you an opportunity. You were going to talk to us about the post you had written—
A voice: You're talking about me.
Mr. Mark Strahl: Sorry, Mr. McLeod, I do have the floor.
Mark, I was going to ask if you could continue with your answer to Ms. Stubbs. You got cut off there by the time, so could you just expand on some of your answer?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
The University of Ottawa's Institute of Fiscal Studies of Democracy calculated that there were 147 different programs with interchangeable names intended to foster innovation, and we see more in the latest budget. Do you not agree with their take-away that, if more government programs and more government money was the answer, perhaps this would have been the greatest success story in Canadian history? Instead we continue, under every stripe of government, under every budget, to try to foster innovation, and obviously more money in more programs hasn't gotten the job done so far.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
As you can see, for our side of the table this is a very popular panel. We have a few extra members. Mr. Zimmer, Mr. Kitchen, and Mr. Eglinski have joined us today of their own accord, just out of interest for this file.
We had previous testimony from other witnesses. Before I quote from Dr. Pierre Desrochers, perhaps I'll start with what Mr. Jeneroux said in his release when he introduced his motion, “Geothermal is the most affordable renewable source of energy with a per-kWh cost half of hydroelectric or wind.”
Dr. Desrochers, in his testimony before this committee, said:
...if there were promising technologies, plenty of venture capitalists and investors would invest in those things. I don't believe government funding overall is very significant in terms of funding innovation for promising technologies. If you look at the history of the development of greener technology practices, as soon as something looks really promising, capital will flow. That won't be a problem.
To both witnesses, is government intervention required? If these are good ideas that companies will benefit from, why haven't the private sector companies themselves made these investments already?
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
I guess as my follow-up to that, the budget was deemed an innovation budget by the government. In advance of that someone did an analysis of the plethora of government programs that specifically claim to deal with innovation and the billions of dollars of funding available.
If governments of all political stripes have utterly failed...knowing the issue, knowing about the valley of death, as we've heard it explained. If money was the issue and if well-meaning programs were the solution, surely we would have reached it by now. I'm frustrated, because it seems like we're the hamster in the wheel here, running around trying to find a solution. Clearly the money has been there. The political will has been there but it hasn't resulted in getting companies over that gap.
View Mark Strahl Profile
CPC (BC)
Thank you very much. If there's any time left, I'll share it with Mr. Barlow.
We've had several meetings already, and one of the witnesses we heard from was Dr. Pierre Desrochers from the University of Toronto at Mississauga, who said:
Government has subsidized so many things that of course a few things will have succeeded...if new technologies look more efficient and have a reasonable promise of earning you a return on your investment, private investors will risk their own money and fund them.
I guess the question, based on that testimony is, why would the government risk taxpayer money to de-risk private business if private investors won't risk their own capital?
Maybe each of you could address what Dr. Desrochers said. If it's a good idea, the private sector will be there; if not, the government will subsidize it, and it may not succeed. Maybe each of you could take a run at that.
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